I fell in love with Hip-hop in 02′.
I was 13 years old, walking through the playground of McCosh Elementary (now Emmett Till) listening to The Eminem Show on my portable CD player.
Now I couldn’t tell you what kinda problems I had or thought I had at the time, but from the moment I heard:
“So they sit and they cry, at night, wishin’ they’d die, ’til they throw on a rap record, and they sit and they vibe” – Eminem “Sing For The Moment”
I was all in. That single line changed everything.
I still remember stopping in the middle of the playground, by the stumps near the primary building (for any alum that may read this), and I thought, ‘so it’s not just me’…
I didn’t identify with every lyric, but as a preachers kid from the south side of Chicago, Woodlawn to be exact, I understood feeling like an outcast and escaping through music that I wasn’t even suppose to be listening to.
More importantly, I find it interesting that I fell in love with Hip-hop through Eminem these days and I’m slightly embarrassed by it also.
You see the more information I gain and the more ‘conscious’ (lack of a better word) I become, I feel some type of way about a white rapper being considered one of the greats.
Of course Eminem, by definition, has earned his respect. My comments are in no way meant to be disrespectful, who am I to discredit him.
The more I learn about hip-hop the more I understand those who do.
To Chris Rock’s point, Eminem has been able to go places and do things because of hip-hop that his black counterparts have not.
That…that part right there…🤔
Our culture being stolen is nothing new though. At this point it’s not even a surprise, kinda just a dry ass joke.
But real life nonetheless.
To be honest, I hadn’t given any of this much thought or should I say I didn’t make a connection until watching part two of The Get Down.
I was born in the wrong generation so I didn’t get to witness the actual birth of hip-hop. My understanding of it was limited to the 90’s, and 90’s hip-hop had a little bit of everything.
By everything, I mean hip-hop was a recognized genre. It had old and new rappers from coast to coast, fashion, movies, labels…a history.
Watching the Get Down Brothers create and believe in something that, for the most part, only existed in their heads was an experience for me.
It also helped me to realize that Hip-hop doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Once again, we created something beautiful out of nothing like our ancestors did on the ships that crossed the Atlantic during the middle passage.
The creator’s of hip-hop found a way to communicate with one another in midst of despair and oppression.
The powers that be took our land, our language, our clothes and our freedom. The birth of hip-hop was us taking our ish’ back.
Hip-hop is our Lemonade…all pun intended.
“When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘let us pray’. We closed our eyes, when we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.” – Desmond Tutu
Nothing against white, alternative, or mumble rappers, but… when hip-hop went mainstream, the labels came to the rappers.
They had a contract, the rappers had culture.